The story of how Magic became a successful businessman is an entertaining one, starting from the moment when Johnson found himself inbounding the ball during a game right in front of Joe Smith of Elektra-Asylum Records and Peter Guber of Sony Pictures, both Lakers courtside season-ticket holders. Johnson had always been aware of the fates of black athletes past -- the fortunes lost by the likes of Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali. So before passing the ball to a teammate, Johnson turned to the pair and asked, "How do I get into business?"
To set Johnson's business career in motion, Guber and Smith introduced him to the Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz. This 2000 New York Times Magazine article, 'Magic Johnson Builds an Empire', chronicles Ovitz's initial reluctance:
"Ovitz was initially grudging in his support of Johnson. The agent handed him a stack of business magazines and told Johnson that he needed to get his 'head out of the sports pages.' When Johnson approached the periodicals the way he had always approached playbooks, Ovitz was impressed and agreed to mentor Johnson, walking him through his first deal with Pepsi-Cola in 1988. 'We had a meeting with the president of Pepsi-Cola,' says Ovitz. 'And Earvin insisted on rehearsing before the meeting. We threw questions at him, and he fielded them. When it came to the real meeting, he knocked their doors off.' The arrangement with Pepsi, 25 percent ownership of a Maryland distribution plant, marked Johnson's first foray into ownership."
The rest is history! We wish the best to both Magic and the L.A. Dodgers.